Richmond, Virginia-based interior designer Lesley Glotzl is known for her outgoing personality and uncanny ability to make various spaces feel like home. To say that Lesley is fun is an understatement. Her larger-than-life personality and laugh immediately put you at ease as she rummages through her bag to pull out paint decks, showing off the best warm gray for a room with natural light or a renovated basement.
Once a retail shop owner, Lesley unexpectedly entered the world of interior design after her home was profiled on a popular home design blog, Young House Love, in 2012. When people got a glimpse of her space, Lesley suddenly had a flood of requests from “fans” asking her to decorate their places. Lesley does not push her personal style on her clients, but takes note of what her clients are saying — or not saying — about a room and how they use it. Lesley listens carefully and gently pushes clients out of their comfort zone to embrace a new look. Adept in the skill of using what you already have, Lesley expertly moves things from room to room, realizing the perfect placement of Grandma’s needlepoint pillow with a new leather chair. Lesley has a natural ability to pull together a mixture of design elements to deliver a perfectly styled, lived-in home, making the process look easy. That why we’re crushing on Lesley Glotzl as this month’s Interior Designer Crush!
How is designing retail spaces the same or different than designing someone’s home?
Designing a retail space is very “editorial,” meaning, it has to make a big visual impact to the shopper to get the vibe and attitude of the store across quickly. Also, there are usually a lot of quirks to a commercial space that need to be addressed in order to make it workable for the business. A home is different in both of those senses. A house always has bathrooms, a kitchen, living room … The basics of what a home is made up of. Not a huge amount of repurposing the space is usually required. Secondly, decorating a home is really about making a family comfortable in a place that is personal to them, and less about a big statement or show of attitude.
What is your design aesthetic?
Personally, I love eclectic spaces with color and pattern, and a play between antiques and quirkier modern pieces. I love furnishings that look great with a little wear on them, that don’t feel too precious. That said, I pride myself on being able to adapt to my clients’ styles and help them achieve the home that suits them. I have satisfied long-term clients whose styles run the gamut from contemporary to French country. That is exciting to me! I don’t think any client’s home looks like my own. Style is so personal, and I rarely end up suggesting a look that is something I would have in my own house.
What are the different types of projects you work on?
The majority of my clients are in Richmond, VA, with homes that range from 1900’s row houses to 1960’s rancher (many of these!), to large-scale new construction. I have done full renovations, helping clients pick everything from light fixtures to doorknobs to simply coming in and styling someone’s bookshelves.
How do you bring out your client’s style while gently pushing them to try new things and trust you?
That is one of the biggest challenges with a new client — helping them take the leap. It becomes easier as I design. We order pieces, stuff starts to arrive, and my clients get excited about the changes. Trust builds from there. It takes a little time.
What’s the most fun project you have done and why?
Two of my long-time clients embarked on really fun projects this past year. One client built a large pool house on her property with full kitchen, two baths and two bedrooms. Another client bought a home in Virginia Beach that needed a good bit of renovating. Both of these clients are fun, and we are well into the “trust” phase of our working relationships. So, we sailed through a lot of work with ease and came out of the other side with exciting spaces that their families use for relaxing and enjoying each other. That makes me happy!
What inspires you and how does that get translated into design?
I am inspired by style that looks easy. Sometimes that is interior design, landscape design, sometimes it is fashion … Lived in, relaxed, personal, timeless, not trendy.
How have visual platforms like Instagram, HGTV and home design magazines impacted your role as a designer?
Many of my clients come to me very informed about what they aspire their home to look like. They get inspired by what they see online and on Instagram. I can use that to help guide where we head with their project. However, I find that many spaces people love in photos have very beautiful architecture that my clients’ homes may or may not have. The bones of your house really do inform the kind of turn your rooms should take. If you want your 1940’s Cape to look like the inside of an open plan house in Malibu, we will need to do more than decorate! Call the architect!
What design trend is getting your attention?
While I love the gray as a neutral trend and hope that sticks around for a while, I honestly believe the worst thing people can do is follow what’s hot. Decorating solely on what you see in the latest magazine will make a client super happy in the short term, but in the long run doesn’t work. I find that it never really feels like “you.” Not to mention, it can be expensive. I want my clients to splurge on the right things, not just the latest color palette. Miles Redd once said, “If you buy luxury you only cry once.” So, if you are going to spend money on it, make sure you do in a way it’s going to last.
What are your favorite online stores for home goods?
If walls could talk, what is one of your designer “tricks” that we should all know?
I love big, original art. The impact it has cannot be measured — a whole room can be built around one painting. Buy what you love deep down, and you will always be able to find a place for it.
Thank you to Jeff Glotzl for today’s photographs.
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